59. Editorial Note
Over the course of the day on March 13, 1972, Assistant to the President Henry Kissinger and Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin devised the text for the joint announcement of the upcoming summit meeting in Moscow. Starting with the text offered by Dobrynin on March 10 (see footnote 6, Document 57), the announcement evolved into final form. An excerpt from Kissinger’s 10:30 a.m. telephone conversation with Dobrynin reads:
“K: What I want to do is to send you the text as we have written it. It uses the phrases from the original announcements and I think all it is is making three sentences from one.
“D: There is no change in the substance?
“K: I don’t believe there is, but that’s why I want you to check it. After you check it, if you have any questions call me.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 371, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)
At 3:48 p.m., Kissinger and Dobrynin spoke again:
“K: Did they send over the text to you?
“K: Well, there are a few dead bureaucrats and there will be one more in 15 minutes. It is going to be over in half an hour.
“D: Now they decided to make it at the same hour. What do you propose?
“K: 3 o’clock.
“D: In Moscow it will be 11. You are not going to make it earlier, no?
“K: Well, let me check with the President and I will let you know. If there is a possibility of a Presidential press conference it will be at 3:00. Let me see what we can do.
“D: You will call me today?
“K: In an hour.” (Ibid.)
At 4:25, Kissinger called White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman and requested that he get Special Assistant Chapin to make arrangements for the joint announcement with Soviet Embassy official Vorontsov. (Transcript of telephone conversation between Kissinger and Haldeman, March 13, 1972, 4:25 p.m.; ibid.)
At 5:55 p.m. on March 13, Kissinger and Dobrynin engaged in further discussion on the announcement.
“D: This English text—first, there is nothing said about the second half of May.[Page 202]
“K: We will put that in. We will just take whatever the communiqué said.
“K: Your draft.
“D: No, I don’t think so. I have the Russian text.
“K: I don’t like that wording either: ‘It was agreed that a meeting should take place.’
“D: In October, you remember your text. Simply an agreement was announced that a meeting was held in Moscow.
“K: No, I propose your text, but that agreement was announced that a meeting be held in Moscow between the President—
“D: An agreement was announced that a meeting be—
“K: It was announced that an agreement had been reached on a meeting—
“D: That is better.
“K: That is no problem.
“D: It was announced that agreement has been reached on and then put it this way, in the second half of May or in late May. How would you like it?
“K: In the second half of May.
“D: In the second half of May because otherwise it would not be clear.
“K: And it has now been agreed that President Nixon’s visit to Moscow will begin on—
“D: What about October 12?
“K: Let me read it. On October 12, 1971, it was announced that agreement had been reached on a meeting between President Nixon and leaders of the Soviet Union in the second half of May or to take place in the second half of May.
“D: To take place.
“K: It has now been agreed that President Nixon’s official visit to Moscow will begin on May 22, 1971, as stated in the October 12 announcement.
“D: Good.” (Ibid.)
At 6:10 p.m. on March 13, Kissinger called Nixon to inform him of the progress on the announcement:
“P: Is there any last minute news?
“K: No, things are fairly quiet. I worked out with Dobrynin a text for the announcement for Thursday at 11:30 in the morning.
“P: Good, and we are announcing it just the same as the China one with the delegation, and Mrs. Nixon is going, I presume?[Page 203]
“K: We aren’t going to go into the technical end.
“P: Oh fine, leave it out. I just want to be sure we don’t add any more.
“K: We might say Mrs. Nixon will accompany you.
“P: We did it in the China one. ‘He will be accompanied by Mrs. Nixon and Rogers.’
“K: Let Ziegler answer that in the questions. We have agreed on the text but he can answer that in questions.
“P: Fine. Otherwise things are fairly quiet.” (Ibid.)
The final revised text of the announcement, as completed the next day and released at 11:30 a.m. on March 16, reads: “On October 12, 1971, it was announced that agreement had been reached on a meeting between President Nixon and the leaders of the Soviet Union to take place in the second half of May. It has now been agreed that President Nixon’s official visit to Moscow will start on May 22, 1972. Mrs. Nixon will accompany the President. As stated in October, President Nixon and the Soviet leaders will review all major issues, with a view toward further improving bilateral relations and enhancing the prospects for world peace.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 493, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1972, Vol. 9 [Pt. 1]) However, the Soviet Union released their original text of March 10. In a March 16 memorandum to Kissinger, Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the NSC staff commented: “What point is there in negotiating out a specific set of words if the Soviets then blithely proceed to use, in Russian and English, without the slightest change the language they originally proposed? If this is going to be their practice when we negotiate the Moscow communiqué there will be nothing ahead but trouble.” (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 67, Country Files, Europe, U.S.S.R., Sonnenfeldt Papers [2 of 2])